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Foot-in-mouth disease

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The heads of Michigan’s leading environmental groups are expressing outrage over a recent comment by Russell Harding, director of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality.

The hubbub centers on a statement of Harding’s posted on the Michigan Farm Bureau’s Web site, www.michiganfarmbureau.com. Harding was bitchin’ about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation of the DEQ. Seems Harding’s outfit, according to the enviros, is refusing to enforce provisions of the Clean Water Act to rein in the big animal feeding lots springing up around the state.

“So the federal government has chosen to come into this state in a Waco-like manner to trample over the state’s rights,” opined Harding. “That’s simply unacceptable.”

What’s unacceptable to the greenies is Harding’s wacko Waco analogy.

“This statement can only breed disrespect for law enforcement at the federal and state level,” wrote leaders of six respected environmental groups in an Oct. 18 letter to Harding’s boss, Gov. John Engler. “Harding’s language is clearly inflammatory and invokes a tragic episode that has been used by extremists as a rallying cry for domestic terrorism. At the very least, it’s hard not to interpret Harding’s statement as an incitement to resist the lawful activities of federal agencies, which in turn exposes the personnel of these agencies to potential physical danger.”

News Hits sees how the confrontation can be de-escalated. Call in the FBI and ATF, surround DEQ headquarters, and blare the squeals of small animals being slaughtered over loudspeakers for a month or so. Summon the National Guard and two or three tanks to knock a few good-sized holes in the building, allowing the place to be pumped full of tear gas. That should bring ol’ Russ to his senses.

Curt Guyette is Metro Times news editor. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com

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